Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dear Husband - You are 30

Dear Husband,

You are 30. Where oh where did this year go? I have updated this blog basically none so we have a lot of catching up to do. Sorry in advance of the stupid longness of this.

Lets see, when we last left off, you had just gotten into grad school and we were living in Baltimore. We loved Baltimore. It was a great 4 months spent there, even if it was insanely cold. I will always look back with fondness on that apartment above the garage in the historic home, with the bedroom blacked out with entirely too much tin foil. We still keep in touch with Brett & Hailey and I hope we continue to do so - they are fantastic friends! We got a flat tire the night before we were supposed to leave, of course. But in the end, we drove back to Dallas at the end of February, left our puppies in the loving care of my parents, and then drove to the other side of the country to live in San Francisco for a while.

This was harder - we lived with amazing friends, but not having our own space other than a bedroom for 3 months was rough. We took our bikes with us and biked quite a bit. We did a little hiking, too. You hated your job here - it was in a small community hospital and you were getting called off a lot and it was stressful and not your jam at all. Luckily, it only lasted 3 months. I hung out with our SFBlackner cousins quite a bit, and we went to our first vineyard wine tour, which was amazing. We decided, yet again, that the bay area just isn't our area of the country. We went home for a second for Melissa's wedding and went to Kylee's wedding in Utah in there as well. But living with friends allowed us to take 2 1/2 months off this summer to travel, and travel we did!

We started with driving up to Canada for a few days in Vancouver. It was amazing. We biked a ton, went to a nude beach, ate a lot of poutine, hiked, and generally fell in love with the city. The weather was perfect and it is one of my favorite vacation spots we have ever been. The people were super nice, we stayed in a great area of downtown, and man, it was just a blast. It was the perfect way to start our our #allensummerofawesome.

Then, you went to your last year of camp for a couple of years and I helped Jessie remodel her house in Portland. We also had a date night out with Jessie & Curtis before you left and that was great! We both had a good week, and then we were off to Hawaii for 10 days! Oh man, Hawaii. We were supposed to go to Hawaii with your family when we were engaged 9 years ago, but it didn't work out and I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a little bit bitter ever since. But we went to Hawaii and had a ridiculously amazing time. We stayed on the North Shore with Brooklyn & Randy and it was so relaxing - I can't even tell you. We just hung out with Brooklyn & Randy, went to the beach, hiked a little, took a drive around the island in search of clear skys, and ate a lot of good food. I got up on a surf board! You had probably your lowest level of anxiety I have ever seen you at in our entire marriage! You got into the ocean without me prodding! It was seriously the best 10 days. We spent our last night in a fancy hotel in Waikiki and that was great too - fancy robes, room service - it was fantastic. I decided I could live in Hawaii and you half way agreed. Someday, husband, we are gonna live there, at least for a few months! Mark my words!

After Hawaii, we drove down to San Diego and spent the 4th watching the insane display on a pier in the middle of it all. We saw Flight of the Concords in concert, golden sand beaches, and ate a lot of popsicles. Then we flew back to Texas for a week before we left for Europe!

We started Europe with Laura & Dylan on a weeklong tour of Southern Ireland. I think the highlights for me were cramming all of us into that tiny car WITH our luggage, the epicness of the Leprechaun Museum, the Waterford Crystal Factory, driving on the most Irish of rainy/misty days, cows outside the bathroom, being peer pressured into hiking for a billion miles, BUNRATTY CASTLE (mostly the old people), Dylan not kissing the Blarney stone, lots of Cider and Guinness, the clogging and music while we ate shepard's pie and you freaking out at the Cliffs. We listened to a lot of Hamilton and I only felt like I was going to die 54% of the time you were driving. Ireland was beautiful and I can't wait to go back - as long as that speeding ticket you got that we tried to pay 4 times keeps us from renting a car next time!

Next, we were off to Scotland. The Taylors were there in Edinburgh for a day with us and we hiked Arthur's Seat and we did a private Harry Potter tour which was amazing. We learned all kinds of awesome facts and did spells and generally had a fanatically nerdy time. I wish we had longer in the city - it was such a cool vibe! - but it just means we have to visit again someday! We bid the Taylors farewell back to America and we set off for the Hogwarts Express! We got to experience the train and it was so fun to be in the same carriage where they filmed and see the scenery where they shot the film - we could both totally see Hogwarts there. We went to Loch Ness on the way to our stay in the Highlands and while you loved it, I was totally underwhelmed by the Nessie museum. I did think the Loch was lovely! Staying in the Highlands (more specifically the Glenlivet Estate) was great - we went to a couple of Whiskey distilleries and went on a walk that was a "wee bit boggy". We then headed down to Glasgow and met the coolest Airbnb hosts ever. James & Stephanie were so Scottish and basically the cool people we wish we were. We talked them into dinner our second night and Steph & I stayed up until all hours planning their new airbnb apartment which we are staying in next time we visit!

Then, we headed to England! We only stayed in the Lake District for a night which was just enough to make me want more. We did a storytelling boat tour and some deer ate out of my hands. Two thumbs way way up. We were up early the next morning to head down to get our very first Tattoos! Our tattoos were a big deal - we had planned them for over a year and you found an artist you really loved. I freaked out when the design was bigger than I originally wanted, but in the end we both have lovely pieces of art that go together but aren't matching and are themed around Harry Potter. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of our marriage and has truly formed both of our values so fully that it just seemed right to have a tribute permanently on us. We each got half a quote - mine says Blissful Oblivion and yours says Better Than Firewiskey. I love that we got owls, and I love that you held me and didn't make fun of me when I was a gigantic baby. We got into our airbnb really late that night, but enjoyed our next morning in Ironbridge looking at all the shops and walking across the Iron Bridge! We headed to Cardiff for more nerdery - the Dr. Who Experience. It was great, and so was getting yelled at for playing Pokemon Go. lolz.

So, we are halfway done with England - we headed to Bath to see the baths, went to Stonehenge (which I'm glad we did because it was way cooler than you led me believe), and got to tour DOWNTON ABBEY!!!!!!! Which was super fun but we loved the random Egyptian exhibit in the basement the most, I think. We also spent a couple of days on the southern shore and walked by the ocean and relaxed before we headed into London! I love London. It felt more like going someplace familiar this time, which was nice. We kindof knew our way around a little and only got lost once, on our last night after 2 bottles of wine. We ate at the oldest restaurant in London and it was incredible. And then we got to see what we had planned this entire trip around - THE CURSED CHILD! Oh my gosh. We both cried. We both had permagrins. We both gasped. It was so so so cool to get to see it opening week and with the ENTIRE original cast. We got some photos and autographs and seriously, it was incredible. It was just everything we both wanted out of the experience and then some, I think. I don't know if either of us can really describe exactly what it meant to us, to be able to end the story that raised us the way it was meant to be seen, on the stage, but it meant a lot. We got tickets for In The Heights our last night and that was great too - it was fun to see how one of our favorite composers has grown since his first production!

Then, we flew back to L.A.! I stayed for a week and we got you all moved in and your room all ready for school to start. And then I flew back to Texas. You have been in school 6 months and I have seen you 7 times, which is awesome. I am actually sitting in your bedroom typing this right now!

Not gonna lie, the past 6 months have been really really hard. Last semester was rough - we had to negotiate a lot in and outside our relationship and have had to make some hard decisions and realizations. Absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but it gives you room to take a hard look at your relationship and see what is and isn't working in it. I like to think we are getting rid of all the parts that don't work and growing and expanding the foundation of things that do - but that means a lot of really hard conversations and decisions.

We are constantly deciding what works best for us. It isn't something that we will probably ever be done deciding. I don't think either of us thought 8 1/2 years ago that we would be here, but we are and we are working on figuring out how to make it work.

All I know is, I love you. I love every part of you. I love your kindness, I love your big heart, I love your insecruities. I miss you when I'm not here, and sometimes even when I am. I have a huge hope for the future and know that everything will be okay in the end. I know that this is hard - we have had a lot of huge life changes in the past 2 years, but I hope you know how much our marriage as a constant has helped me be able to figure out and explore while still feeling safe. Out of all the places we have traveled, laying in your arms is still my favorite place in the world.

I love you and I like you.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

4 Gluten Free Flour

This is a bowl of Gluten Free flour! It is the Gluten Free flour blend from America's Test Kitchen with a rice flour base.

I know it seems like a silly thing to want to do before I turn 30, but I had some reasons. Chief among them that it is really expensive to make it yourself, but much cheaper than buying it pre-made. I also know exactly what is in it now, and have enough of the various ingredients to make more. I also proved to myself that I can do something that isn't that hard, but also is annoying. It honestly took me 5 minutes, but now I have it done and I can't make the excuse of not having a blend I like or whatever. The next step to this would be to buy glutenfreeonashoestring's book on baking and make some of their blends and their recipes which look amazing, but that was not on my 30 before 30. lol. 

I made a bunch of muffins for David with this. They are in his freezer. I think the best ones were the almond poppy seed! 

I have done quite a few things off my list, and will be getting David to send me some pics of some of the stuff from his phone so I can get it all posted!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

30 Before 30

I have 18 months to complete these. Oh lord, 18 months before I am 30. I had not thought about that until now.

1. Run a mile in under 10 minutes.
2. Be able to do 25 real push-ups.
3. Wear a bikini in public.
4. Make Gluten Free Flour from scratch.
5. Re-read Harry Potter.
6. Re-do a minimum of one house.
7. Walk 30,000 steps in one day.
8. Do crossfit for a month, 3 days a week.
9. Read 30 books.
10. Do my second ear piercing.
11. Learn how to say 30 words in spanish.
12. Do a RunDisney event.
13. Have an outdoor dinner party.
14. Climb a mountain.
15. Take a class (pottery, photography, dance, whatever)
16. Make Macaroons
17. Update this blog 18 times
18. Eat Vegetarian for 30 days.
19.  Eat Vegan for 30 meals in a row (10 days).
20. Do a Whole30.
21. Do photo albums for our first 8 years of marriage
22. Go to a legit cheese tasting event.
23. Go to a pick-your-own farm.
24. Go camping.
25. Learn to use my camera.
26. Do 30 days of yoga in a row.
27. Semicolon Project.
28. Go Skinny Dipping
29. Get a nice pair of jeans and get them tailored.
30. Watch 30 of IMDBs top 100 films.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Hello world.
Let me tell you about California.

- My grocery bill is twice what it was in Dallas, but my produce is real good. Strawberries are amazing here.
- The BART train system is LOUD. Screeching screeching.
- The weather is completely different on the Peninsula than where we live.
- People are way more outdoorsy here. More hiking, more biking, more walking. Lots of trails.
- An hour drive easily turns into 2 with no warning.
- The toll system here SUCKS compared to Dallas.

In other news, I hurt my knee a couple of weeks ago and I finally figured out how to fix it yesterday. Lots of painful rolling and these things called Sissy Squats. Turns out my kneecap is tracking wrong (it goes to the left) because my muscles are so tight. I need to start doing Yoga again, but before I can do that I need more rolling and squats. It has sucked because I was getting into a really good groove of Hiking and Biking every day. Hoping I feel 100% when we get back from Texas (I go tomorrow!) so I can enjoy our last 3 weeks here!

The past 2 months have FLOWN by. I feel like Baltimore dragged forever and here I feel like we aren't here long enough. Amazing what good weather can do.

Our Summer plans have shaped up real nice like. I can't wait to spend 2 1/2 months non-stop with my love! I am gonna miss that fool when we part ways in August! 2 years will fly by, but living as a long-distance married couple is gonna be interesting.

Mostly right now I am looking forward to seeing the PUPPIES TOMORROW. Ahhhhh.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Dear Husband,

Today is your 29th Birthday.

We have been working on getting together a bunch of information for grad schools stuff. Because guess what!? You found on on Monday that you GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL! We have been working on you getting in school for 6 years. We moved to Texas. You got your ADN. You got a job in a crazy, huge, lots of different kinds of patients ICU. You got your BSN. You got your CCRN. All this so you could apply to one, and only one grad school. It was your top pick. It was your only pick. And you totally got in on your first try. Do you have any idea how awesome that is? Do you have any idea how awesome YOU are? Well, stop it, because you are gonna get cocky and I don't want that. But you are awesome.

So, anyways. Lets talk about your 29th year here on earth. A lot happened. For your birthday last year we had delicious sushi with my family. Remember how I worked at Blue? I miss that fish, man. So do you. You ate it a lot in the past year. But your birthday was an especially glorious time.

We went to our third season of DSM and it was awesome. It was a pretty solid foundation for a year awesome date nights. We ate some really good food and we saw some great concerts and shows and movies. We laughed and talked and basically I love date nights.

Your family came to visit and see the house and we finally went to Scarborough Fair.

We got our Lily girl - the second dog we never wanted but totally needed. She loves you so much, its ridiculous. She would pretty much die for you, and you totally prefer and spoil her over Albus, you horrible dog owner, you. But seriously, she came to us so messed up - we couldn't even pet her and she hid from us always - and in less than a year she is snuggling you all the time and jumping for joy when you come home. She does like me, but seriously, you and her are just a match made in heaven.

We ate a lot of popsicles this year, got our bikes in order and biked around a little bit, explored East Dallas and all it has to offer, which is a lot. There is still so much we don't know and haven't done and I can't wait to explore it with you.

Marriage equality was made the law of the land this year, the same day you got your diploma from UTA. We both rejoiced for both reasons. I love that we both love love for everyone.

We went to Disneyland for our anniversary and it was an epic week long adventure of D23 and the parks. I LOVE going to Disney with you and it was really fun to go back to Land since we haven't been since we were engaged. It was seriously a great trip. We both finally got our ears and we ate at the Chef's counter and felt super fancy. It was interesting to see how non-dis-nerdy we are compared to a lot of the people at D23. It was really just nice to have a week with you without any work - because we worked a lot this year.

We got to see our Haws and see Marie over Labor Day weekend. We also took our first trip to Boston and ate our weight in Lobster Rolls. It was amazing.

We worked a lot on our house this year - we finished the geeky guest room, we rented it out on Air BNB for a hot second. Rented it to some rando medical student for a month. We put up our travel collage. We got the desk area really cute. We worked on the yard a lot. We bought rugs and art and amazing vintage furniture. We got in about perfect... and then we decided to leave it.

We also decided to leave the awesome group of friends we finally had, who went went out with and hung out with and man, it was good to have friends again. But anyways.

In October, we decided very suddenly for you to travel nurse. You started your assignment at Johns Hopkins on Nov 2.  We ran the numbers and it just made sense for you to make a bunch of money and me to be a bum. And a bum I have been. I have worn the same clothes 3 days in a row MORE THAN ONCE and for some reason you still love me. Anyway, this is about you. You left a job you LOVED so that you could gain some more experience to make yourself a bit more competitive for grad school and to fund our next European Adventure happening this summer.

We made some great friends in our landlord friends, Brett & Haley, and we discovered our love of Oysters at Iron Horse on half price Mondays. We went to Disney World last month and it was the most perfect 2 days at Disney ever. We probably won't be back at World until 2021 for the 50th anniversary so it was really nice to go and do our favorites and some of the things that are getting closed down for the expansions and new stuff. You survived the blizzard while I went to Texas and fixed our house

And that catches us up to now. You have a week left at Hopkins, and then we head to San Fran for 2 months.

We have been making some big decisions lately. We have decided to take the Summer off and camp a bunch up the West coast before we go to Europe before you start Grad School. We decided to do that because we want to spend time together before school starts. Because we have decided that for at least your first semester in Grad School, I will live in Dallas and you will live in Pasadena. We have decided that because I have decided I want to flip houses with my Dad. Insane shenanigans. But good ones that should result in not only a great Summer, but a great future career for both you and me.  But big decisions none the less.

That about sums up what has happened since your past birthday. This year I have seen you grow so. much. It is so fun to see you change every year we are married. You are still the same basic person, but you just keep adding more fun things that make me love you even more. It is amazing to me that after 7 1/2 years of marriage and knowing each other more than a decade we continue to learn really huge things about each other. And that a lot things we have learned are things are learning together - you or I have a big realization about who we are as a person, and when we realize it we tell the other and boom! New level to the realtionship. Sometimes, I think that if marriage were a video game, and the levels were how deeply and well you knew your spouse and all their secrets, we would be at the final level because we couldn't possibly know any more about each other. And then years like this year happen and I can't wait to see how many levels are left to play. The really cool thing about this is that even when we make a realization, we still like each other. We talk, a lot, about whatever it is. Sometimes it causes tears. Sometimes it causes laughter. A lot of time it invokes a "Huh. Cool" response. The amount of trust we have just blows my mind. We have gotten so much better at intimacy-  in the sense that we are both being so vulnerable about how we feel and what speaks to our souls - that I look back on our first years of marriage and totally understand why it was such a struggle. We didn't even know ourselves on an intimate level, so having a marriage of two confused people was hard!

I am glad that this year we have gotten to know the real us a little better and that this version real us are really really really compatible. Every year I am a little more in love with you, and every year I feel like I can't love you anymore. I'm not mad I'm wrong.

I love you, Husband. I am proud of us and you and what we are doing with our life. Maybe next year I will blog better so that I don't have to do a year long journal update in letter form instead of a mushy love letter for your birthday. But I do love you, very very mushily.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Musings of a Housewife

So, I am living the proverbial dream, right? I am a housewife. I am not working. We are living in a sweet apartment on a 9 acre estate. I have two adorable dogs whom demand snuggles and my husband only works 3 days a week!


Actually, it isn't that bad. I am working out a lot. Not enough - well, enough, but not hard enough. I need to push myself. Anyways. I'm working out. Step one complete.

I am cooking healthier food - Gluten (and corn for the most part) isn't part of my diet anymore and I am starting to feel SO much better. It is so so nice.

I am going home to visit this week for 8 days - I am working for most of it and making chocolates for the rest, but it should be fun to have my own car. Sharing a car is awful, BTW. I never want to have one car on purpose again, unless we live in a big city with good mass transit (NYC, I am looking at you).

Anyways, I had something I was typing about, when I started this. I am now completely off track. Crap.

Oh, I started this to brag/be ashamed about my email. So, at the start of last week I had around 20,000 emails in my inbox. Most of it was junk mail that just needed to be gone thru. A lot of it was important-ish information that needed to be filed away in folder for future reference. So, since I have no job and no car to go do anything with after 5pm on nights David works, I have been slowly netflixing and cleaning out my email! As of this moment, I have TWO emails in my inbox! TWO!!!! I am very very impressed with myself, seeing as I don't know the last time I had that many emails in my inbox. Probably never. And I will delete both of them tomorrow, dog gone it! INBOX ZERO. IT IS REAL. I HAVE FOUND IT.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1 year in

Alright guys, I am doing it. My one year in the house post. Full of never-before-seen photos of the before and the NOW! (as in I just took the pictures 5 mins ago.)

We are starting with the living room, bedroom, and guest bedroom, as those saw the biggest changes in appearance/are the most done right now. The 3rd bedroom/my cake room is a hot mess and the bathroom only added some storage. The kitchen looks really similar to when we bought it, except there is an island and a bunch of patches that haven't been painted. Once I do the backsplash in there and paint sometime this fall, I will share some photos then.... it just looks bad now.

Here we go!

Alright, here is the front view. As you can see, we cut that gigantic tree limb overhanging the walkway, took out some roses, added some black magic crepe myrtles (which are babies now but will be so pretty next year! One has some blooms and I am SO EXCITED for them to get huge!) and cleaned up under the tree. I should zoom in to make it more similar, but I'm lazy. Almost all of these photos are unedited. DEAL WITH IT.

Once again, I am the worst at consistency of photos. Guess I will never be a professional home blogger.

Differences here are no more rose bush, no more second entry door, added mailbox, added NO KNOCKING sign for my day sleeper husband, and the additional 2 front rugs piled up, one from Christmas. THIS IS REAL LIFE. Oh, and that fancy Texas Flag thing. I hung that up moments before this picture was taken. I bought it before we closed on the house. I am nothing if not honest. We also need to add some trim and finish caulking and painting this whole area..... someday soon? 

Oh look, the same view! No, seriously, this is the same view. What you see on the left used to be our Living room . . .the front door opened right into it, and that walkway made it so there was very very little useable space. There is a wall on the left of that photo that you can't really see --- the door opened onto it. We basically moved the wall to the other side of the hallway. What you see on the right is our entry way table, and the soundproofed wall to our bedroom/sleeping cave. You can also see here how we took out not one, but two doorways to make the hallway all big and spacious-like, and added those fancy little hallway lights. David says we still need one more closer to the front door, and he is wearing me down slowly.

So I can't take a similar photo because of wall placement, but the front door is on the left (out of farm) and the doorway on your left goes into the now-livingroom and the one on the right we took out to open up the hallway. You can see the door to the guest bedroom through the doorway. This is just to give you an idea of the wall we moved - it was really hard to take a photo of it. 

Same area, different view - this was the wall we moved - you can see the front door on the very left of the photo.

Okay, are you confused yet? This is the NEW wall from a 180 view, basically - do you see the cased opening there (where the wall comes down a little?) That is where the OLD wall in the photos just before this one was. That white door is our bedroom door, the door covered in Christmas cards is our front door. Are you getting an idea of how we changed the layout? You now walk into the hallway, instead of walking into the living room OR the bedroom. It makes a gigantic difference in the layout and usability of the house! 

For sure the best before/after photo of this post, I think. I swear this is the exact same angle as before! In the top photo, the door on the right is the second front door we removed, and the door on the left is the doorway into the room! Looking at all these old photos make me glad that I saw what I saw in this house - because it looked and worked SO bad before, it was hard to imagine it now. But I LOVE it. In the bottom photo, you get to see our desk-corner (which is my favorite, with my little gallery wall!)

Okay, this might compete for best photo, only because look at Albus! So cute! It is crazy how much bigger that window looks without the closet next to it! The closet in the top photo wasn't original to the house, and was a stupid waste of space (it was really deep). It was a gigantic pain in the butt to take out - so many nails!!!! - but really, this and moving the wall - they made the house what it is! 

Okay, obviously not the exact same view, but I was standing outside the (now non-exisstant) second front door to get that first shot. I love my living room! David and I both hate that couch, but we are saving up for a new one, slowly! 

This is our bedroom, now. Which is really hard to take photos of because it is tiny, and has no natural light (the windows have foil AND 1 inch foam insulation on them) and it is Navy . . . which photographs horribly in natural light. That little closet (same closet, two angles) is not big enough to hang clothes in, but for now it makes a fantastic linen closet! Someday, we would love to do a built-in-dresser and hanging rack, but we have plenty of closet space in the other bedrooms so we aren't in a hurry. 

This is the most similar angle I have of this... the top photo is a DURING photo - after we added the wall, before flooring and such was done. The below is the after. Seriously, impossible to take a photo of - that pillow is salmon colored, not orange. But we love it! I added the curtains so the window wasn't off-centered behind the bed, and since that window isn't used, it works great! 

Guest room. Can you see the added closet door? The new wall color photographs really poorly, but I love it. Also, that bed frame is WAY TO BIG for the room, but it and the mattress were $30 combined... and we don't ever have guests....so until I finish building one, it works great. 

Because of the bed, I couldn't get this from the same angle, but these are the closets. We don't think either were orginal to the house, and they are different depths. We stole half of the closet on the left (we moved the door over to the right about 10 inches... can you tell?) and now have a coat closet in the hallway, which is awesome. The doors and the trim were the big changes here - I did that door trim all by myself! I LOVE IT SO MUCH. 

So we took out that random light switch on the wall, and the gas pipes in the entire front half of the house (we have central heat and air now - there used to be gas heaters in each room!) and this is the after! We have a ton more art to hang in here (we bought fantasy maps at Scarborough Faire that are the coolest!) but I'm pretty happy with the very very way it is headed right now. Also, David has a pillow problem (he is really picky and will only use a pillow for a few months before he declares it dead... when really it is fine) so our guest room has a billion of them. 

Alright, so that is it so far! David and I have changed our schedules for the fall so we have 4 nights and 1 whole day off together, which we are super excited to be productive during! This year, we have have maybe 2 nights a week together, and one morning - so it will be a big change! Yay for more home projects! And not blogging them for a year! Maybe next time I will take the time to edit the photos before hand... but probably not.